Professional Capabilities Framework for those Working with People with Learning Disabilities


This one day programme aims to examine what is required of workers under the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) when working with people with a learning disability. It will consider the ‘super domains’ of Purpose, Practice and Impact and will explore and analyse the attitude (values and ethics) Skill and Knowledge which underpin professional practice with people with a learning disability


Using a range of teaching methods available via on-line platforms including discussion, lecture, groupwork and case study examples, the following will be examined.

  • A brief revisit of the PCF framework in order to enable participants to anchor the day closely to the 9 domains. This will be to facilitate reflective elements so that the workers can identify for themselves where their work marries up to the standards identified
  • Consideration through the PCF for those working with people with a learning disability, key areas of specific, and speciality practice and knowledge. Strengths based working and empowerment underpins all social work but we will examine some of the specific issues raised when working with people with a learning disability connected to their autonomy – either as individuals or within relationships and communities. Examining wider concerns of carers and families and the role of the social worker as a bridge sometimes between very different and conflicting outcomes
  • Examination of a rights based focus for practice; the rights some people with a learning disability struggle to exercise and some of the structural and attitudinal barriers in society which contribute to the risk of marginalisation. This also brings to light consideration of the proactive need to demonstrate respect and the promotion of dignity. Consideration will be given to professional and communicative behaviours which can demonstrate and respect and forms of communication which may enhance participation and understanding
  • Exploring the building of relationships with people with a learning disability; using the self as a conduit for respectful communication and the way in which workers professionally maintain and grow relationships, being mindful of boundaries, beginnings and endings and how to try to enable people with learning disabilities to feel effective via the demonstration of acceptance, sensitivity, appropriate availability and belonging.
  • Consideration of the statutory guidance emphasising co-production and outcomes focused practice and how partnership working with other agencies can facilitate this as well as ensuring the equal and reciprocal partnership agencies should try to build with people in need of care and support. This will be regarded in light of the Care Act 2014 and the assessment process including the drafting of care and support plans
  • Consideration of the medical and social models of disability and the effect this can have on the outcomes for people with a learning disability. This will include examination of the values underpinning the social model; how this is compatible with social work principles of social justice and ethics as a means of combatting health inequalities as well as wider structural barriers
  • Examination of best use of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to ensure respectful consideration of the individual via the application of that act’s principles. This along with s42 of the Care Act will be analysed with regard to effectively embracing, where feasible and sensible, the person’s wishes, feelings and the outcomes they wish to achieve. This will be considered through the lens of wellbeing and making safeguarding personal

By the end of the session, workers will have gained an appreciation of how the PCF for those working with people with a learning disability underpins their practice and how everything that they do in their role should, on reflection link back specifically and expressly to the framework itself. This will enable workers to recognise for themselves their capabilities within this area of practice and will encourage reflection on how their work can be constantly evolving in a strengths based and positive way.


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